Jamaican | Ghanaian

I identify myself as 50% Jamaican, 50% Ghanaian. Also, Black British; simply because my mixed mother also identifies herself as Black. I was born and raised in a predominantly white area in Essex. My family were one of the first non-white families to move there 30 odd years ago. I lived there for a majority of my life, apart from the ages of 18-22 when I relocated to Brindisi in Southern Italy, I have also lived in Liverpool. On both occasions I was away for 2 years at a time. I have worked as an airline cabin crew member for the past 6 years, I am currently a purser for a British airline.

My Mum is Jamaican and was born and raised in Port Antonio, she moved to the UK about 40 years ago. My Dad is Ghanaian and was born and raised in Accra, he moved to the UK 43 years ago. They met at a bus stop in Beckton while they were both living in the area.

At about the age of 8, Black History Month became a thing at school, as one of the only Black students in my class I became a key focus. It made me much more aware of where I was from and ultimately led to the first of many trips to Jamaica. Even though I have always lived with both of my parents, I am a lot closer to my mum as she is a lot more open than my dad. When I was 4 years old I went on my first holiday, it was to visit my father’s side of the family in Ghana. I disliked it so much it took me 19 years to visit again, I didn’t connect with the people at all.

I find that I do have a close affiliation with mixed people and I especially gravitate to those with a half African/half Caribbean background as it’s not very common. However, I do have friends from a wide range of backgrounds. I find I tend to date guys from an African background, however I feel this is just my physical preference more than anything.

I do think there is a bias towards mixed raced people, especially if you don’t have one White and one Black parent. I’ve always had people telling me they thought I was mixed until they saw my natural hair texture which has always confused me. It’s like if you’re not the stereotypical mixed race you just are not recognised as mixed in their eyes.

A profound experience that I will always remember was about 5 years ago when I was in college. I can’t remember the reason behind it, but I was told by a girl I knew that I was a ‘disgrace to Ghana’ as I didn’t know much about Ghanaian culture. This really struck me at the time because even though I don’t have a strong attachment to my Ghanaian side as I do to my Jamaican side I don’t think this is fair to call out someone. I also honestly felt that if I was fully Ghanaian she would not have made that comment. Also, when I tell people my mix, they agree that I look Jamaican, but most people do not even believe that I’m Ghanaian, to the point that they will ask me if I am sure or if I meant Guyanese. I’ve never felt offended by this in any way, it just confuses me as I’m not sure what features I have that defines me as one nationality and not the other.

I don’t think my background mixture has a massive effect on my relationships, the only thing I can think of is if I meet parents of my Ghanaian or Nigerian friends, they will instantly have something to say when they find out I’m half Jamaican. It’s not in an offensive way but it is something I’ve grown to expect. It took me a long time to get my head around this as both sides of my family are extremely diverse.

If I was to be reincarnated I feel that it would not matter what race I was born into, as I would manage to find pride in it, no matter how long it took me. The newer generations of mixed race people are much more open to dating outside of their race and are a lot more tolerant. I honestly feel in the next 100 years there will just be 1 race.